Implosions and Sweeps and Musical Allusions

1. Giants Bullpen Implodes

Not this Brian Wilson

You had to think that Giants fans were feeling the good vibrations heading to the 9th inning with a 4-1 as Tim Lincecum was about to win his fifth straight start; god only knows what happened to closer Brian Wilson who blew the lead as the Phils won 7-6 in 11 innings. Lincecum had struck out 11, and the Giants were about to sweep, but after a four-pitch one-out walk Lincecum was pulled after throwing 106 pitches.

The intuitive hometown fans booed the decision as Wilson entered and were forlorn after Jayson Werth‘s three-run double with two outs tied the score. They felt even worse when Jeremy Affeldt wild pitched in the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th.

But the Giants scored in the bottom of the 10th to tie the score and give Sergio Romo (0-2) the opportunity to complete the bullpen implosion in the top of the 11th by allowing two runs to score, in part due to a dropped fly ball, and the Phils held the Giants to only one run in the bottom of the inning for the win.

Ryan Madson (1-0) pitched one inning for the vulture win despite allowing a run in the bottom of the 10th. Nelson Figueroa finished for his first career save.

Ryan Howard homered, his first in 65 at-bats. It was his fourth of the season and his third off Lincecum, the most by any player. It was the second homer Lincecum had allowed at home last season after not allowing any last season.

Cole Hamels went six innings allowing four runs on nine hits, but he struck out 10.

The Giants out-hit the Phils 17-8 and had won 49 straight games in which they had gotten 17+ hits.

Chase Utley singled hit No. 1,000 of his career.

2. Twins Bullpen Implodes

The Minnesota Twins have gotten off to a fast start this season and got off to fast start last night leading the Tigers, 6-1. Twins fans better hope the season ends better than last night’s game as the Tigers came back to win, and win big, 11-6.

Just another implosion

Detroit’s rally started in the 4th against Minnesota starter Scott Baker in the 4th when Brandon Inge led off with a homer. Baker allowed four runs in the inning and finished his day with four innings pitched allowing nine hits and five runs.

Ron Gardenhire, who was ejected in the 6th, told reporters after the game, “This is a tough one, because when it was 6-1, it looked like we had the game under control,” Gardenhire said. “Everything just went the wrong way after that.”

Luke Hughes became the first Twin since 1984 to homer in his first major league at-bat.

Jim Thome homered off Tigers starter Max Scherzer in the 1st.

Scott Baker, Pat Neshek and Jesse Crain were all rocked as the Tigers scored 10 unanswered runs. Entering the game, Twins relievers led the American League with a 2.33 ERA.

Ron Mahay (0-1) faced one batter, who reached on a disputed error, for the loss. Brad Thomas (1-0) picked up his first major league win in relief, nine years after making his debut with the Twins.

3. Trevor Hoffman Implodes

How much longer will we hear Hoffman's entry music?

So frequently there are discussions about the great Mariano Rivera with people wondering how long can he continue his mastery? Then you wonder how will it actually end? We may be seeing that future with the great Brewers closer Trevor Hoffman. Leading off the 9th, Ryan Doumit homered off for the second straight day off the all-time saves leader and Garrett Jones hit a two-out, run-scoring double in the 14th off Brewers reliever Manny Parra (0-1) and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Milwaukee, 6-5.

Hoffman has blown four of seven opportunities this year, after blowing four all of last season, and he has an ERA of 13.00. Pirates’ reliever D.J. Carrasco (1-0) pitched three scoreless innings for the win.

Each team scored in 10th with the Pirates run coming on Andrew McCutcheon’s second homer of the game.

Both the Pirates and the Brewers are 9-12 on the season. The Pirates are 4-8 on the road and the Brewers are 4-8 at home.

4. The Rockies (twice) and the Diamondbacks Implode

Well, if you like good pitching, this was not the game for you. If you like slugfests, then you missed a doozy yesterday as the Diamondbacks topped the Rockies, 12-11 in 10 innings.

Chris Young hit a three-run homer to help Arizona jump to a 6-0 lead in the 1st. Young matched a career high with five RBIs. That was the day the for Rockies starter Greg Smith. But the Diamondbacks didn’t let success go their heads as Carlos Gonzalez led off the 2nd with his third home run of the season. In the 3rd, Arizona starter Kris Benson faced three batters, allowing successive singles and a walk to Todd Helton before leaving because of a pain in his right shoulder that will put him on the DL.

In came Arizona reliever Leo Rosales who allowed all three inherited runners to score and by the time he had completed his 1.1 innings, he had given up seven runs on six hits and through four, Colorado led 11-6.

The Rockies offense was done for the day but the D-backs made a C-back by scoring three in the 5th and two in the 8th for the tie. Kelly Johnson homered in the 10th for the game-winner off closer Franklin Morales (0-2). It was the first homer off the Rockies bullpen at Coors Field this season. They had combined to pitch 38 innings without a gopher.

Bob Howry (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings and Juan Gutierrez got three outs for his first save in two chances.

5. Baseball Today

AL

Twins (Carl Pavano) at Tigers (Dontrelle Willis), 1:05

White Sox (Gavin Floyd) at Rangers (Scott Feldman), 2:05

Yankees (A.J. Burnett) at Orioles (Brian Matusz), 7:05

A’s (Justin Duchscherer) at Blue Jays (Ricky Romero), 7:07

Royals (Luke Hochevar) at Rays (Matt Garza), 7:10

NL

Braves (Jair Jurrjens) at Cardinals (Adam Wainwright), 1:40

Diamondbacks (Ian Kennedy) at Cubs (Ted Lilly), 2:20

Reds (Bronson Arroyo) at Astros (Roy Oswalt), 8:05

Brewers (Doug Davis) at Padres (Wade LeBlanc), 10:05

Pirates (Brian Burres) at Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw), 10:10

6. Red Sox Sweep

Just when we were all complaining about the state of Red Sox pitching, Jon Lester struck out 11 in seven innings and the Boston Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 2-0 to complete a three-game sweep. Once again, unsung Darnell McDonald was the offensive difference maker as he scored one run and drove in the other.

Lester (1-2) entered the game with a 6.23 ERA. Daniel Bard came on in the 8th and gave up a leadoff double but then struck out the side. Jonathan Papelbon worked the 9th for his seventh save.

Blue Jays left-hander Brett Cecil (1-1) was the hard luck loser allowing one run and five hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out three.

Boston has won seven of nine and has returned to the .500 (11-11) mark as they head to Baltimore. The Sox have won their six straight in Toronto, sweeping consecutive series of three games or more in Toronto for the first time since 1981 and 1982.

7. Mets Sweep

The New York Mets won their seventh straight game and the Dodgers lost their fourth straight as the Mets completed the three-game sweep of LA, 7-3. The Mets finished a 9-1 homestand, their best since going 9-1 from Sept. 12-22, 1988 and now head to Philadelphia as a first-place ball club.

John Maine (1-1) had his best outing of the season. He struck out nine, walked three and gave up a two-run homer to Russell Martin but only four hits. He was removed after a leadoff walk in the 7th having given up three runs, two earned.

8. Rays Sweep

Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena each homered as the Tampa Bay Rays topped Oakland, 10-3 to complete a two-game sweep. The Rays have won 13 of 15, improving the best record in baseball to 16-5.

Right-hander James Shields struck out 12 in seven innings and Longoria and Pena drove in two runs apiece. Shields (3-0) allowed a 1st inning home run to Daric Barton but then limited the A’s to five hits and an unearned run over the next six innings. He walked one and while equaling his career high for strikeouts.

Longoria and Pena led off the 6th with a B-to-B off reliever Brad Kilby and also drove in runs off starter Dallas Braden (3-1) when the Rays scored six in the 5th.

9. I Love Walkoffs

The bunter

As walkoffs go, this was a beauty as Howie Kendrick surprised the Indians when he bunted with two outs in the 9th to score Torii Hunter with the walkoff run as the Los Angeles Angels topped the Indians, 4-3.

The 9th inning began with a double by Hunter against Joe Smith (0-1). Hideki Matsui was intentionally walked and reliever Rafael Perez got Kendry Morales to ground into a double play, moving Hunter to third. After an intentional walk to Juan Rivera, Chris Perez entered and gave up Kendrick’s surprise bunt.

The Tribe had held a 3-0 lead in this one before Hunter tied the game with a three-run homer in the 6th.

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